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The game of baccarat is a casino favourite because of its simplicity and because it’s very engaging. It’s so popular that in May 2014, the U.S. state of Nevada made 45.2% of its total table game winnings from baccarat.
One of the biggest appeals of baccarat is that you have three possible bets. One of those bets will inevitably become the winning one. Let’s compare that to, for instance, roulette games: you can bet on each number, corners with four numbers, odds and evens, dozens, columns, and more. Whereas baccarat suits players that want an uncomplicated, fun time at the table.
In case you are a newcomer, let’s have a quick overview of baccarat itself. Even though there are many versions of this game, the most common one is called ‘punto banco’ and this is the version of baccarat referred to in this article. At a simple glance, it’s just another card game, but several factors distinguish it from similar games.
The dealer plays two different hands. One is ‘you,’ and the other is the ‘casino’ itself, mostly called the banker. What is so special about this game is that you can seemingly root for or against yourself. This means that you bet on the outcome of each hand, no matter what ‘your’ hand actually is. Therefore, you can bet that you will win, the casino will win, or that there will be a draw.
All this is possible because the concepts of ‘player’ and ‘banker’ are just namesakes, and what you are actually doing is betting on which of those two sets of cards will win.
Declaring a winner is simple: the highest hand wins. Numbered cards from two to nine have a face value, jokers don’t play, aces are worth one, and the jack, queen, and king have no value. If the sum is higher than nine, the count starts over. That is, 2 + 9 = 11, so it becomes one.
As you can see, it’s a rather easy and fast game to play so that a session can consist of many games.
Another interesting thing about baccarat is that the house edge in this game is one of the better odds available to players. In baccarat, the banker will win 45.8% of the time and the player 44.6% of the time. Ties are about 9.6%. If the ties are removed, the banker’s hand wins about 51% of the time. This means that favouring the banker’s hand offers a slight advantage. Of course, these are just the basics. As stated before, there are many variants, so be sure to check the rules thoroughly before playing the game of your choice.
Baccarat can be found in almost any online casino. You can simply click on a game of your preference and jump straight into the action. Each game will have its interface, and this, coupled with the betting range, will probably become the main reasons why you choose one game over another.
The method of playing is generally the same: you place your bets on your hand, the banker’s hand, or a tie and then press on the ‘deal’ or similarly-called button to start.
The game shows the drawn cards and whether you win or lose depends on the outcome. Most games are beautifully rendered and they recreate the atmosphere of a live casino to some extent. For example, you will find some games with stacks of cards and good-looking animations when you bet or the hands are dealt.
All the calculations are performed by a Random Number Generator (RNG), which ensures the game is not rigged or tampered with in any way. Of course, you should always check the casino’s credentials and licence prior to committing real money.
Baccarat games in traditional online casinos have been around for a long time. The next step in online gaming is, of course, using live dealers instead of RNG-controlled games. The fact that an actual person is dealing brings the game to another level. It also means that game developers have many new ways to offer more value, such as different camera angles, including card squeeze cameras, and more.
The dealer’s theatrics, summed with different camera angles, make it an exciting, interactive experience. They also give the closest experience to a real brick-and-mortar casino. In fact, some of these games are actually streaming live from a real-life casino and you can also see people walking around and playing other games.
Depending on the game, you can either play solo or with other players who are playing on their own tables, so it’s more of an aesthetic choice. Just like in traditional games, each live dealer game offers distinctive values. Some will offer different betting choices, jackpots, and more, making each game unique.
Some people think that live dealers are actors or people with no experience, but in fact, they are trained croupiers. They need the same licences that a worker in a regular casino needs. This reduces the chances of them cheating or performing their job poorly since it would affect them, the game developer, and the casino’s reputation.
Of course, as mentioned before, always check the licence and reputation of the casino site you’ll be playing on!
This largely depends on the needs of the individual player.
Both live and traditional versions offer the same game (with variations according to each game developer), so you will find they share many features. While there are some real differences, it has mostly to do with the ‘feel’ of the game itself.
For players that love the interactivity and feeling that they are in a real-life situation, live baccarat is the way to go. It is the closest experience to a brick-and-mortar casino that you will find online.
However, some players consider all this distracting and want to focus on the game itself. For those players, traditional baccarat games online would be the best option.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide which one feels more comfortable to play. You can try both versions and then make an informed decision.
Always remember to play responsibly!